Woke Tidal Wave

We knew it was coming, but, still, it felt like a punch to the gut…or rather, the uterus. I had a hard time concentrating after learning about SCOTUS’s official decision to strike down Roe vs. Wade when I glanced at the push-notification that popped up on my phone while I was working. Working from home meant that I could let the tears flow between answering calls. Some of the calls were for scheduling initial ultrasounds for newly pregnant women. It made me wonder if it they were happy or, now, terrified. When I wasn’t sobbing or choking back tears when a call came in, I seethed with rage. How can this small group of people…and I mean REALLY small…like five people out of millions of Americans…decide that women don’t have autonomy over their own body and lives? Only one of those five people even has a uterus. How did this happen? Did we have the worst head cold in the history of head colds over the past decade when we started to get the merest whiff of what ultra-conservatives were cooking up? Didn’t we smell the full bouquet of the nauseating stench when it finally reached a full boil in the past six years?

And what’s next? If Clarence Thomas gets his way, women won’t even be able to prevent pregnancy with birth control. I can’t get pregnant anymore, so you might say I don’t have any “skin in the reproductive game,” so to speak, but it’s so much more than having babies or not having babies. It’s about who has rights and who does not. SCOTUS has now established that women do not have the right to make decisions about their own body. We still have the right to vote though, right? Weeeeell, not so much for black and brown women. Okay, okay, okay. They can vote, but it’s not quite easy breezy for some of them or their male counterparts in some states. Who has the right to marry the person they love? Not everyone, according to Justice Thomas. Is deciding who you have sex with your decision? Maybe not. Maybe SCOTUS gets to hide in your bedroom closet and pop out when you violate their interpretation of what is right. Or maybe they just “like to watch.” Who knows?

The ripples of today’s decision will lap off into the distance where the water meets the sky. In some states, if you have a miscarriage, it might be investigated as a crime. Was it a miscarriage or a “miscarriage?” “Did you make yourself lose that baby, Becky? Tell us the truth!” I’ve never had a miscarriage, but I worked in an OB/Gyn office at one time. I remember the faces of some of the women who suffered that fate. It was the face of abject trauma. SCOTUS has left those women open to being retraumatized by law enforcement questioning them about whether they lost that pregnancy “on purpose” or not. What about if you want to have a baby but your body doesn’t want to cooperate? Yup. IVF is likely to be threatened by this ruling, as well.

See. It’s not about “saving babies.” If it was about “saving babies,” there would be free prenatal care, and giving birth wouldn’t cost a penny for any woman. If it was about “saving babies,” there would be funding to assure adequate nutrition and medical care for mother and babies. There would be universal childcare and pre-school. What it’s really about is power…and politics.

Chances are, you love someone whose rights SCOTUS wants to take away. I have daughters. One of them might want to marry someone SCOTUS thinks she shouldn’t. As much as I’d love to be a grandma, I don’t want either of my daughters to have a child if she doesn’t want to. As the mother of a child that was the product of an interracial marriage, I guess I should be grateful that Loving vs. Virginia – the law that allowed interracial marriage – is likely to stand…as long as Clarence Thomas’ tiny shriveled heart beats within his chest and keeps him alive (he’s black and his wife is white). He’s a hypocrite.

The 14th Amendment allowed Clarence Thomas to marry the person he loved, and, yet, he couldn’t find, within that very same statute, the provision to give women authority over their own body. It reads, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg is someone I hold in absolute reverence. I know she’s looking down and imploring us to fight. I have a tiny “action figure” of her on the shelf above my desk. Through my tears today, I kept looking at the tiny figurine of my larger-than-life heroine. I felt her. She consoled me. But she reminded me, too. Fierce is a state of mind. In spite of her small stature, this woman was the definition of fierce. She struck fear into the heart of the likes of Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham and those of their ilk. It wasn’t until her passing that they could advance their agenda. So, friends, she speaks to us…from beyond. She speaks to us…along with the voices of all those that fought for the rights of the downtrodden – Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Stanton, Sandra Day O’Connor, MLK, Malcolm X, Frederick Douglass, John Lewis, Harvey Milk, Marsha Johnson. With one voice, they tell us. VOTE!!! Use your hard won right at every possible opportunity. VOTE!!! We can create the world they envisioned, if we wake up and vote. Drown those motherfuckers in the woke-est tidal wave they never saw coming!!!

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